Bharata en Avant!
India needs little advice from an outsider, but there always remains that subtle danger of discarding her noblest teachings. The seemingly more successful philosophy of action of the West is gaining converts in many lands, and in the mélange of present day ideas, instead of coalescing the best from the East and West, conflict has arisen. In a day and age when scientific discoveries are pushing the intellectual world nolens volens into the acceptance of a metaphysics not radically different from the Monism of ancient Bharata, when the new knowledge of the endocrine glands is leading mankind to the rediscovery of the links between the higher and lower vehicles of the soul—in such a period when materialism is being given its death blow in its own home lands, at that very time the outlook for Asia seems darkest.
But what is this but the testing ground to prove the illusion of Maya, to demonstrate the Omnipresence of Brahman. There is a strength which is not only inherited from the past; it can be freely drawn from its infinite reservoir deep within the Universe at all times. Satyagraha, soul-force, must become victorious on the mental plane through the proper use of thought-force. The right thinking of the ancients is for all peoples and for every era. The battle which is now being waged for the independence of India is in the highest sense a fight for the deliverance of the whole of humanity from the superstitions of materialism, vanity and super-individualism.
While the children of Bharata are seeking liberty, they may see that those very arguments which are being offered to the world, the very propaganda which is being spread among the people, is not for themselves alone. It affects all humanity. The wisdom of the past, the arts, the sciences, the technology, the philosophy, the mysticism, all the great heritages of the race have been preserved on the sacred soil of Bharata and with the proper attitude can be handed down as a legacy to posterity. Out of Vedanta come the seeds of living jewels and the fruit of this knowledge may become a supreme possession.
What is slavery? Man owned by man, men owned by man, men owned by men, all are slavery; but equally in this class is the man or the group owned by ideas, thoughts, institutions and material products. The teachings of John Bright and Thomas Jefferson are as true today as in their times; slavery must be recognized under its numerous outer coverings, and economic, social, religious and imperialistic slavery must be placed in the same category as chattel slavery. All are equally culpable; all must be uprooted to bring happiness and prosperity to the people of the world.
What is now needed is strength and vision, even more than heretofore. Strength is required to transform that spiritual victory which Mahatma Gandhi and his followers have already attained into a mental victory and then into a material triumph. Vision is necessary to perceive that in striving steadfastly for a free, independent and united Bharata, the Nationalists are not only working for their own cause and their own country, but for all countries, and not only for the downtrodden and subjected races, but even for the benefit of the imperialists themselves.
For mankind is one. And whether we turn to spiritual Monism or practical industrialism or scientific epidemiology, we find that link which binds tribe with tribe, race with race and nation with nation. Slavery not only drives its subjects into depravity, it feeds the lusts and panders to the base desires of masters of every ilk.
On the practical side of things, victory is most important and victory will come by the destruction of the enemy. And how is the enemy to be destroyed. By guns? By silent resistance? Whatever be the means employed, one thing can be done now, one thing can be begun now: Destroy the tyrant on the mental plane. Fight your Kurukshetra and win the victory with Krishna drawing the chariot.
Henceforth the loyal sons of Bharata should cease to refer to that country, to those people, who hold them in subjection. Whether social or political policy permits certain types of dealings to continue or not, if the newspapers and publications, if the people in conversation, if the friends of Bharata over the earth cease to refer by name to that country which through physical force dominates them in its tyrannous grasp, that destructive power of the Divine Siva would assist to accomplish the end in view.
The real enemy, the real tyrant is the selfishness in man. The same attitude and the same spirit by which the yogi conquers the evil within himself can be applied on the political field and in the material world to destroy the monsters of iniquity who for their seaming satisfaction and comfort permit hundreds of millions of human beings to live in penury and on the verge of starvation.
Speak of such as imperialists, tyrants, despots. But speak of that nation with its glorious past which believes its present and future prosperity depends upon their domination over others, let them have no more name. For by destruction through negation, by destroying the enemy mentally, he can be crushed as no physical force can destroy him. Concentration can he applied both to win a righteous victory and to overcome all forces of evil.
For what is this thought force? Already it has been employed in boycotts. Now it will be necessary to carry the boycott on beyond the economic stage, to employ non-resistance and mental nescience into every department of life and activity until the very being of the imperialists seems as legendary; and in this there is no harm, for it can be accomplished without hate, without ill-feeling, with reverence for the highest ideals and without in any way interfering with other portions of the program of Bharata’s patriots.
From another point of view, which may not seem so important now, the slave-holders themselves will benefit. For that some demoralization, which appears among slave-holding individuals, also strikes at the roots of the social organism of slave-holding nations. If not so evident, those evils are nevertheless present, and until the virus of imperialism is destroyed it remains as a dangerous toxin within the social and economic order. The hardy self-reliance and individual independence of the rugged inhabitants of a freedom loving nation always disappear when that nation turns its course to the enslavement and domination of other people.
In this sense Bharata is fighting for the whole of humanity. It is true that many peoples, many races, many of the down-trodden all over the earth, are looking today for guidance from Gandhi. By waging a battle against tyranny, imperialism and economic slavery they can be helped most. This warfare can be carried on, on all planes of the Universe. And in this way Bharata will prove itself worthy.
But there are other ways in which all humanity will become interested in this struggle. For behind this war for independence, there is that greater battle for the freedom of man’s spirit from man’s tyranny. The economic order which we hope will arise in Mataram Bharata will be one which will consider the human being first and see that the independence of the nation and the welfare of its inhabitants are not two ideals but one. By keeping true to the highest practical ideals India will justify its cause both in Heaven and upon earth.